Whether you are looking at Prep or Senior Schools, this is the time of year that applying for a place at an independent school begins in earnest. Many independent schools traditionally host their Open Mornings during the first half term of the academic year. This is to give prospective families time to make their decision ahead of the entrance exams and state school application deadlines. When looking at selecting an independent school for your child, it is always a good idea to attend their Open Events to meet the staff, students, and to have a look around the school.
Hopefully, by the end of October, you will have had the opportunity to attend a few different Open Mornings and you may have come away with a clearer idea as to which school is the right one for you and your child.
Sometimes, however, you may not feel ready to make the final decision. After all, choosing the school your child could potentially attend for up to 13 years is no small thing, and the different options can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially for the students.
So, what comes next? Open Events can certainly play a role in choosing your school, but there are other options to help you make your final selection. The first thing is to book a private tour. At the Mount, we would always recommend an additional visit to the school during the school day. It entails a full tour of the school, accompanied by our Headmaster. This way, you see the College in full swing. Classes are running as normal, and you see the school as it normally would be.
The next thing is to arrange for a taster day at the school for your child. Many schools will host induction days in the summer term for children who are due to start at Senior School the following September. This is a great way for the children to become more familiar with their new school, and for friendships to form ahead of the start of the new term. For those looking to move into other year groups, such as a Year 9 placement ahead of GCSEs the following year, taster days can be arranged at any other time, which is especially useful if you are looking to move mid-way through the year.
You may be wondering, whom you should talk with to discuss all of this? The Admissions teams will be your main point of contact when you look at a new school. It is essential that you are in contact with them from the outset, as they will be able to advise you on Scholarship and Bursary Application closing dates, as well as the timing of entrance assessments. They can help you arrange visits to the School, guide you through the next stages of the process, and answer any questions you may have. Remember, the team is there to help you, so if you are still unsure as to what your next move is after attending an Open Event, we would definitely recommend contacting the Admissions departments at your shortlisted schools to talk about your options.